Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frummer Than God

I recently received an invitation to a family wedding. The invitation was unremarkable, except for one interesting coincidence: both of the bride’s grandfathers had married women named “rayuso.”

The recent practice of omitting women’s names is ostensibly because printing a woman’s name is untznius. Yet even if we take it as a given that tznius is a legitimate concern, this practice makes no sense.

1) In regards to this particular case, it seems that it would be far more tznius to write “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” than it is to write “Mr. Smith and his beloved.”

2) The stated rationale of tznius rules is to avoid anything erotic. It follows that anything avoided due to tznius concerns is (at least somewhat) erotic. I find it hard to believe that even the most sex-crazed guy would find the name of a grandmother printed on a wedding invitation arousing. Yet it seems there are people in the Chareidi world who believe that even mentioning a woman by name is erotic. (Either that, or they never thought through the implications.) Which brings us to:

3) There are women’s names all through tanach. Here is a community that sincerely believes that God wrote every word in the Torah. God clearly thought there was no problem with referring to women by name. And yet, they have the chutzpah to try to be FRUMMER THAN GOD!

Go figure.


  1. G, I don't think it's a matter of tznius; after all the Kallah's name is speeled out, no?

    I suspect it's simply that the grandmother's individuality is just not important. (Shelo Asani Isha)

  2. I asked the Chosson's father about it. Apparently one set of the Kallah’s grandparents objected to having the grandmother’s name written out, so they used “rayuso” for both grandmothers to make it look even.

    You make a good point. The kallah’s name is always on the invitation. So why are women’s names so conspicuously absent in most other publications? Are they subsumed in their husband’s identity?

    Also, what about my first point?

  3. Your point about the Torah is rather telling, but, I suspect that if God were to try to write such a sleazy, sex-filled novel today, it'd be a miracle if He ever got an aliyah.

  4. It rubs me the wrong way, but how is it even a little different from "Mr. and Mrs. Smith?" It's just a stiff, archaic convention.

  5. S., in terms of writing the woman’s name or not, it’s no different. The difference is the image it creates. I think “Mr. and Mrs.” and “Mr. Smith v’ishto” would be equivalent. “Beloved” conjures up romance, something that is (by yeshivish standards) definitely not tznius.